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What goes into our gifts?

Our printed gift boxes offer eye-catching designs so you can regift them or keep them as a handy home for all manner of things. Here's how they go from idea to reality...

Each Lush gift comes with a story, and it all starts with the gift design team. Gift design lead Emma Caswell helps us unwrap everything that goes into designing a new range...

What’s a typical day like for the gift design team?

Every day is a different adventure when it comes to designing gifts. It depends on what stage of the project we’re at! Quite often our days are spent getting messy and creative in collaborative workshops, concepting new ideas. We have regular catch ups to share our ideas and designs, and to review the work so far, and this is when we tend to come up with the best ideas.

As we design a gift, we often work on a pattern and then mock it up to see how it looks wrapped around a box or as part of a hatbox design. We might try several types of boxes to see which looks best, and we then amend the designs.

Days can be spent talking to our visual merchandising team on how the gifts are going to look in the stores, meeting new designers, or getting inspired by new materials - the list really is endless!

Where do you find your inspiration?

We regularly attend art exhibitions throughout the year to keep our creative ideas flowing, so generally our inspiration will come from something we have recently seen and been inspired by. Sometimes this could be a general theme, application, or era.

Do you go on any inspirational trips?

Yes, we often go on trips to gather ideas for new projects. For Christmas 2019, we went to Stockholm and Gothenburg to immerse ourselves in Christmas inspiration. Our trip to Liseberg, Gothenburg, inspired the design for the Lush World Knot Wrap.

Do you work with guest designers?

Yes! We love working with different designers when we’re working on a new gift range. We find that the more collaboration on a project, the more creative ideas we get, and ultimately this is what makes a collection so strong.

In particular, we’ve built a really strong relationship with Arthouse Unlimited. We work with them regularly, because we really love their designs and creativity.

Not only do we work with external artists, but we also like to open our doors to creatives within the business. We’ve had staff from our stores, manufacturing, and more, getting involved with our workshop weeks and design briefs.

What goes into planning a gift range?

There are a lot of areas to consider when designing a new range of gifts.

We often begin by reviewing the last season’s collection of gifts, seeing what did well and what could have been improved. We talk to our stores and see what is really popular, or what our customers are asking for more of.

When it comes to the packaging designs themselves we have to make sure that the collection works well together, and we generally ensure this by choosing a colour palette that ties all of the designs together nicely. Once we’ve started to mock up our designs, we see how they look together and then make changes where needed.

Is the environmental impact of packaging a concern?

A really big factor we consider during the design process is how we can reduce the amount of packaging that we’re using. We avoid using over-packaged gift boxes and instead focus on the reusability of our gifts once the customer has received them.

We are very mindful of the materials we’re using on all of our gift packaging, whether it’s a paper wrap, hatbox, or Knot Wrap. All of our paper wraps are made from 100% recycled paper and our boxes are made from recycled board. We also work with wonderful handmade paper mills to create beautiful paper using banana fibres, t-shirt off-cuts and much much more. All of our Knot Wraps are either vintage, or made from 100% organic cotton or recycled plastic bottles.

How do the gift box designs come to life?

Since 2010, we have worked with a local UK supplier where creative processes such as the constructional design, digital prints, and die-cutting all happen in-house. They print lasting and decorative designs onto recycled cardboard so that the versatile storage space also doubles up as gift wrap.

Once printed and cut, the boxes are sent to the Lush gifts department flat-packed on pallets and ready to be assembled. By flat-packing the boxes we can fit 64 pallets worth of pre-assembled boxes onto just six pallets, which helps to keep the carbon footprint from transportation at a minimum. 

When the boxes spring to life, they are filled with Eco Pops; a biodegradable packaging, to protect the cosmetics inside.

The great thing about many of these boxes is that their beautiful designs mean they are perfect to reuse. The person receiving the gift can either re-gift it, fill it with more Lush goodies, or use it as decorative storage for all types of bits and bobs. This is why it's so important to create a design people will love and will want to keep.

What’s your favourite ever Lush gift?

My favourite ever Lush gift was the Two Turtle Doves gift from Christmas 2016 (if I can recall correctly!). It was one of the first ever Christmas gifts that I designed from concept to production and I really loved its reusability. The gift was a wreath shape with golds, reds, and greens on the box; a truly christmassy design! But most of all, I loved that when the customer opened the lid of the box, it revealed a Christmas mobile with doves hanging down. This could then be hung up and reused year after year!

What’s the best thing about your job?

I love the creativity in my job, and getting to work with really amazing and creative people every day; I love that each day is different. It’s really special when a range comes out into the shops and I get to hear all of the staff and customers’ excitement about the new collection. It’s very rewarding to see all of our designs come to life!

Now you know what goes into our gifts, take a look at the latest gifts...

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